Sixteen exemplary women, and three in particular, were honored for their passion, vision, and commitment to excellence and service at the fifth annual Victor Chamber of Commerce Women of Excellence awards dinner.
VICTOR — About 150 guests gathered Thursday at Ravenwood Golf Club to honor 16 exemplary women for their passion, vision and commitment to excellence and service at the fifth annual Victor Chamber of Commerce Women of Excellence awards dinner.
Gina Cimineri, Dawn Rockefeller and Marguerite Archer received top honors in three categories for their leadership and commitment to the Victor community.
Marguerite Archer, 19, of Bloomfield, was the recipient of this year’s Student of Promise Award. She credits her accomplishments in academics, music, soccer and volunteerism to her home-school background and the encouraging support of her family, church and community.
Topping her list of mentors is her mom, Lydia Archer.
“She homeschooled all six of us all the way through high school,” said Marguerite, who’s now attending Finger Lakes Community College’s Victor campus. “My mom has been a great inspiration to me. She’s stayed strong all through these years. I couldn’t do it without her.”
When she thinks of women who embody excellence — characteristics she continues to strive for — Marguerite thinks of people who “are always straightforward, very truthful, people who are honest and loyal, who are always willing to do something for other people.”
Next up for Marguerite is working with a Rochester company that specializes in specialty engineering, products and field services in measurement, control and communication technologies for industrial industries.
“I just got a co-op with RITEC in Henrietta, so I’m hoping to do my best with the training there and see how that goes,” Marguerite said. “Then maybe pursue an engineering degree after I hopefully graduate from the ICT (Instrumentation and Control Technology) program at FLCC.”
Also nominated for the Student of Promise Award, and honored on Thursday, were Shae Heitz of Victor Central Schools, Karlie Kehoe of Victor Central Schools and Jessica Pavia of Victor Central Schools.
Receiving this year’s Lantern Award for volunteerism and lifetime achievement was Dawn Rockefeller, president of the Victor Farmington Food Cupboard. Over the years she’s been directly involved in Foodlink’s Agency Advisory Council, the Snack Pack program at Victor Senior High School, the Angel Tree program, the Holiday Food Basket program and Give Around Victor Day.
Who inspires Rockefeller most? Her dad.
“From the time I was a little girl and probably didn’t even realize what I was doing, we were doing community service,” said Rockefeller. “We use to go and deliver food to migrant families and make sure that they had enough to eat.
“Dad has always inspired me that you first love people, you first care about people, you don’t judge people. That if you are helping just one person, you’re helping. To this day — he’s going to be 89 years old this year — he still inspires me," Rockefeller said.
Rockefeller said the qualities she aspires to most are humility and proactivity — taking action to meet a need before it becomes obvious.
“I want to be really be up front and look for ways to help," she said. "Really looking for how can I help somebody, what can I do more to help somebody else? I want to make sure that I’m always doing that, that I’m not stuck in the same old, same old mold. That I’m really looking to be continually better at helping people.”
Also honored Thursday were Lantern Award nominees Karen Ballard of the Victor Central School Board, Sharon Cary of Serenity House, Jean Laitenberger of Kiwanis Club of Farmington/Victor, Terryn Maybeck of Victor Central Schools, Trisha Turner of the office of Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, and Candide Werkmeister of Victor varsity girls volleyball.
Gina Cimineri of Northwestern Mutual received the 2016 Jikohnsaseh Award. The Farmington financial advisor recently formed Ciminery Financial Group, and said she values faith, family, passion, optimism, health and integrity above all else. Cimineri was “necessarily unable” to be at the awards ceremony Thursday, because she was on vacation with her family, Victor Chamber of Commerce President Mitch Donovan said.
Also nominated for this year’s Jikohnsaseh Award, and honored Thursday, were Keri Curtis of Gatehouse Media, Elaine (Elly) Dawson of Victor Farmington Library, Samantha Johnson of Canandaigua National Bank and Trust, and Joan Keyser of Joan Keyser Food Styling.
There was a common theme among the biographies of nominees about giving back, Donovan said.
“Many of these people are in a position where they can (give back), but they have a choice,” said Donovan. “They could do nothing but sit in their living room eating bonbons, or they could get out there and roll up their sleeves.”
This was the first year the event spotlighted six area non-profit organizations, and gave them an opportunity to find more members and volunteers, he said.
“The reason we had the volunteer recruitment tables here tonight was so that more volunteers could be exposed to more possibilities, more opportunities,” said Donovan. “Look at the opportunities here: Rotary, Kiwanis, Food Cupboard, Serenity House, Lions Club. It’s a community that has a plethora of options, something for everybody. It doesn’t take long to find something you’re comfortable with in terms of volunteering. There are a lot of different flavors.”